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Accused jewelry bandits indicted in Florida
Pair held up Dawsonville Zales Outlet in August
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A Northern District of Florida Grand Jury has indicted an Atlanta area pair accused in a Southeast jewelry theft operation.

Abigail Lee Kemp, 24, of Smyrna and Lewis Jones III, 35, of Atlanta, were arrested Jan. 8 on charges related to multiple jewelry store armed robberies in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina.

The Zales Outlet at North Georgia Premium Outlets last August was among the stores hit by the brazen pair, who would enter the stores shortly after opening, force the employees to back room at gunpoint and zip tie their hands before stealing thousands of dollars in jewelry from display cases.

Other locations include Jared Vault in Sevierville, Tenn. on Oct. 16, 2015; Jared Jewelry in Bluffton, S.C. on Sept. 2, 2015; Reeds Jewelers in Panama City Beach, Fla. on Aug. 11, 2015; and Jared Jewelry in Woodstock, on April 29, 2015.

Jones, who agents said is believed to be responsible for at least two metro Atlanta area bank robbers, was charged by Dekalb County Police for his role in the Aug. 12 armed robbery of the Navy Federal Credit Union on Briarcliff Road in Atlanta.

He is also considered a suspect in a Sept. 9 armed robbery of a Regions Bank on Cumberland Parkway in Smyrna.

Authorities said Kemp was communicating with an accomplice on an earpiece phone during several of the armed robberies. Kemp reportedly told agents she was in contact with Jones, who served as her lookout while she was inside the jewelry stores.

Court records also show that a key piece of evidence that tipped the case came from cellular tower information that showed Kemp's personal telephone number being picked up at or near all of the robbery locations in Panama City Beach, Fla., Woodstock and Blufton, S.C. during the time when the robberies were being committed.

A second major break in the case involved the identification of a Honda Civic on social media belonging to a relative of Kemp's that was believed to have been painted from maroon to black.

A license plate reader system revealed the vehicle had been at various nearby locations during the time of the robberies.

The FBI began receiving credible tips soon after releasing surveillance photos and requesting assistance in identifying the suspect after the most recent armed robbery.

The pair has been in custody since their arrest, held on conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats or violence charges, offenses that could carry a maximum 20-year sentence.

The three count federal indictment handed down Feb. 2 in Panama City confirms the charges.

The suspects, who according to court records have pleaded not guilty, are scheduled to appear in court March 21 in Panama City.

 

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